By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
CONVICTED drug dealer Melvin Maycock Sr and his accomplices in the infamous cellblock escape faced a maximum two-year prison term going into yesterday’s sentencing before Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis.
However, the 45-year-old, of West Bay Street, was handed a prison term of eight months for escaping lawful custody five years ago when he, helped by a policeman, swapped places with his son and avoided arrest for four months.
Magistrate Rolle-Davis, after considering mitigating circumstances and the fact that Melvin Sr had spent 18 months on remand awaiting trial for the February 28, 2008 escape, said that time was considered served.
The convict is still at Her Majesty’s Prison
currently serving a three-year prison term for possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
His 29-year-old son, Melvin Maycock Jr, of Joan’s Heights, and 43-year-old Troy Lewis, of Pinewood Gardens, were both sentenced to six months for the parts they played in that escape.
Melvin Jr’s six months was reduced to two after taking into account his four months on remand. Unlike the father and the 29-year-old son, former police sergeant Lewis had not spent any time on remand.
The magistrate said sentences would take effect from the day of sentencing.
The three men were convicted of their respective charges on Tuesday, February 5.
It was claimed that the son and the former police sergeant aided the escape of Melvin Maycock, Sr, who was in lawful custody at Elizabeth Estates police station.
On the day in question, Maycock Sr had been arrested and put in a cell at the station. However, when officers returned later that day, the son was discovered in the cell instead of Maycock Sr.
Maycock Sr, whose escape was not mentioned until a week later as a result of a “leak”, was not captured until four months later when on June 20, he was intercepted by police on John F Kennedy Drive and West Ridge following a high speed chase.
All three men had denied their charges from the time of arraignment up to conviction.
However, their denial of involvement in the switch scheme was not believed by Magistrate Rolle-Davis who convicted all three.
Sentencing had been deferred for two weeks and in yesterday’s proceedings,
the defending attorneys, Roger Gomez II, Ian Cargill and Tonique Lewis came prepared to battle the sentences that would be imposed.
Mr Cargill said that under the law, the two accomplices were arrested under certain charges, aiding and abetting the escape of a prisoner.
He said that as a result, if convicted of the misdemeanour, they were liable to imprisonment of 10 years, a sentence the lower court could not impose because of jurisdictional powers.
He said this related to his next point where the law required that the Crown establish why Melvin Sr was being arrested on the day in question and what the sentence would be if he were convicted for what he was being sought for.
He said the answer to this would reveal that the case should’ve proceeded by way of a preliminary inquiry and not a trial.
Crown prosecutor Anthony Delaney, before disagreeing with the submissions, said that the question raised was “too late” and should’ve been raised earlier.
He said that the crime for which Melvin Sr was brought before the court was specified, along with the penalty.
He said the penalty for that crime is a maximum of two years, similar to aiding and abetting an escape.
He said the court did have jurisdiction to sentence the three men. He also noted that if the issue raised by Mr Cargill was of such concern, it should’ve been raised by the earlier attorneys, Wayne Munroe, Damien Gomez and Dion Smith, but it had not.
Mr Cargill reiterated that the point was, referring back to the law books, about what Melvin Sr was being sought for. He further noted that it was for the Crown to raise such an issue before allowing the case to proceed.
Mr Gomez II added that the man had been arrested on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply, but the charges had never been laid against him.
He said his client was being sought for an extradition matter and the issue of jurisdiction was now raised because of the law.
After back and forth submissions, the magistrate took a moment to consider submissions by both sides before ruling that what Melvin Sr was being sought for on February 28, 2008 was of no consequence to the fact that he was in lawful custody on the day in question and had escaped with the aid of his son and the policeman.
Following the mitigation plea by Mr Cargill on behalf of Melvin Jr, the magistrate handed down his sentence.
Melvin Sr was sentenced to eight months for escaping lawful custody while Melvin Jr and Lewis were sentenced to six months for abetment.
The magistrate, noting the mitigating circumstances and that Maycock Sr had spent 18 months on remand awaiting trial, said that his time was considered served.
Maycock Jr’s six months was reduced to two after taking into account his four months on remand. Unlike the father and son, the former policeman had not spent any time in prison on remand. He now has to serve six months.
The magistrate noted that they had the right to appeal the conviction and sentencing before the Court of Appeal and had seven days in which to do so. A hearing for bail pending appeal has been set for February 27 at 10am before the magistrate.